Rachel Robison-Greene recently finished up her time at the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) and their Animal Rights Archive at the NC State University Libraries. She was the first recipient of The Tom Regan Visiting Research Fellowship. Rachel is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Utah State University researching the in vitro meat revolution. She had previously taught and studied Tom Regan’s work, but writes that she now “understand[s] his contributions to philosophy and to the animal rights movement in a way I could never previously have anticipated.” She appreciated his honesty and transparency in putting together the collection, including correspondence, acceptance letters, rejection letters, referee notes, and more.
Rachel further comments about how inspired she was to see all the drafts and edits Tom went through in his work. She also noted the ways in which he dealt with challenges he encountered with honesty and integrity. She writes, “He also included his teaching materials and I was very impressed with the attention to detail they demonstrated. It was very clear that teaching was, to him, about creating good citizens who understood that philosophical questions about equality and value are not merely entertaining abstractions suitable only for armchair reflections. I couldn’t agree more.”
Rachel is currently working on the subject of emerging food technologies. She had previously read most of Tom’s books but benefited from reading his papers, as well as drafts of papers and speeches. She was able to get “a much better understanding of what the Rights View might have to say about these new questions.”
The collection at large gave me a real sense of the scope of literature on animal rights and animal welfare across space and time. Some of my favorite experiences were looking through Victorian literature on slaughterhouses and vivisection. I appreciated the enduring and compelling arguments for animal protections. I also marveled at the magnitude of the challenges animal activists have always faced and continue to face.
It was a joy to get to know CAF. The organization was clearly very important to Tom. In my final days in the collection, I looked through the boxes that told the CAF story and was very impressed with all of the people doing such valuable work.
She also wrote piece for an ethics periodical about part of the collection called “How Long Must We Wait?”: Lessons from the History of the Animal Welfare Movement, which can be read here.
In the photo above from left to right: Gwyneth Thayer of NCSU libraries; Rachel Robison-Greene; and CAF board member and professor of philosophy at NCSU Gary Comstock.